The European Union unhappy with the vacuum in Middle East peace efforts created by the U.S. presidential election, plans for a new drive to stop the cycle of violence and kick start a diplomatic process.
The EU Foreign ministers’ meeting in the Netherlands agreed that the bloc’s foreign policy Chief Javier Solana should try to kick start the peace process, stalled ahead of the November U.S. vote.
‘ Israel realizes very well that because there are elections in the United States and because stalemate might occur, it is of great importance that the EU be involved in the peace process,’ Dutch Foreign Minister Bernard Bot told a news conference.
Bot called for urgently discussing IsraelÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Ã¢â‚¬Å“controversialÃ¢â‚¬Â disengagement plan, the stalled road map, settlements, and the separation wall.
‘It knows very well that if there is not close cooperation between Israel, the Palestinian Authority and the European Union, it may face chaos after withdrawal,’ he said.
Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos expressed happiness that the EU decided to its unwillingness to act, and had agreed to a concrete plan for the Middle East.
‘It is a clear expression of the will of the 25 countries to not keep their arms crossed but to involve themselves more directly in seeking an exit from this crisis which disgracefully doesn’t seem to have an end,’ he told reporters.
Swedish Foreign Minister Laila Freivalds said the EU would send parallel delegations to Jerusalem and Washington.
‘I also think that this is something the United States would not object to, on the contrary, because the current standstill is not a good situation seen from a U.S. perspective,’ she said.
Freivalds also said that the EU should help support upcoming Palestinian elections and consider the potentially severe economic consequences for Gaza of the planned withdrawal.
The EU so far refrained from playing an active political role in the Middle East and mostly acted to financially support U.S. efforts.
The EU foreign ministersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ move to take a more active role in the Middle East peace process is expected to be faced with Israeli objections.